Are you proud of where you work? It is a fair and interesting question to ask considering all the different types of workplaces in today’s world. We are all inundated with social media stories and the latest books about chasing our passion and how to do purposeful work. Expectations for the workplace environment are at an all time high and I suspect most employees are disappointed. If you are like most of us you work at an organization that is not written about, not blogged about, that has lots of work that is just mundane work.; but and this is a big but, what if it is a good company with moments of greatness. Would that be enough? I sure hope so because I believe it is realistic and that is where I work.
I believe that often work is just work, heck I do a lot of work that is just work, there really is nothing interesting about it at all. So what do I do? I own a small boutique digital agency and I am a Vice President at Flaman Group of Companies. I do not lament this fact about work, I understand boring work needs to get done as a business process; I understand that is my role at times and that I do not get to do interesting work all of the time. I accept that work is not Disneyland and sometimes muck needs to be moved. I also believe that most of us need to disenthrall ourselves from social media’s idyllic version of a workplace that I fear is becoming the expectation as opposed to the exception. In my opinion if you are expecting your workplace to be a perfect, purposeful, passionate organization all of the time you are setting yourself up to be disappointed, and thus not proud of where you work.
All this said I also believe that organizations need to continuously improve, to not accept good enough and can have moments of greatness, hopefully at an increasing frequency. I believe it is the role of leadership to create an environment for their teams to flourish and to provide their teams with direction and the vision for where they are going so whenever possible work can be tied to that vision and thus have purpose. To create this environment and a workplace that team members can be proud of in my opinion these are the six elements in a culture leaders need to facilitate:
1) Create an environment of trust
This is the first element a leader must strive to create in order for all the other elements to have a chance. There are many way to establish trust, from admitting your mistakes and sharing your weaknesses, but the most important thing you can do as a leader to establish trust is to ensure there is no culture of blame. If there is a blame culture (and perhaps it’s cousin fear), then there can be no trust.
2) Create a team orientated workplace
Teams support each other, teams help people feel they are part of something bigger, teams help people feel they belong.
3) Allow freedoms
If you trust your people, trust their hunches and ideas, allow them to explore different directions. If possible be accommodating with schedules, more often than not the freedoms given because you trust people are rewarded tenfold.
4) Have clear goals
You need to have a direction so you know where you are going and you can measure progress towards the goal. Otherwise you are stuck on a treadwheel going nowhere and that get rather soul sucking and your people just disengage. Moreover, if your people helped create the direction they will have buy in and that will equal higher engagement and ownership of results.
5) Hold people accountable
So far you have created a trusting team orientated workplace that allows freedoms and has a clear goal everyone is working towards. Sounds great right! It will all fall apart if you do not hold people accountable to get their tasks on a project complete. The first four do not matter unless people are responsible for the work they are supposed to do as part of a team. A team quickly falls apart when members are not lifting their share. As a leader you must insure all are pulling together equally.
6) Get Results
You need to win, you need to hit or beat financial projections, finish the project within scope on time under budget. You can miss from time to time but if you are always missing then you are not really holding people accountable, and being on a consistently losing team will ultimate fail the organization.
Flaman Group of Companies just chosen as a top 100 SME (Small to Medium Employer). I believe we won this award because of our culture. We have a lot of leaders and teams that try every day to use these seven elements to create our award winning culture. It is these great people that make Flaman what it is. I candidly admit we are not perfect, we fail and fall down from time to time, but we do try to improve every day.